The University as a Warehouse for Rich People, and the University as a Warehouse for Poor People.

I hope most of us can agree that these two outcomes would be less than optimal.

Yet the hard-headed report just issued by the Education Trust suggests that we’re certainly headed there. Fancy schmancy schools don’t take in enough Pell Grant people and risk becoming gilded ghettos. Why should the American taxpayer subsidize that? Trailer park techs take in little besides poor people, many of whom never graduate. The students default on their big government grants. Why should we subsidize that?

So, reasonably enough, the authors of this report argue that if after a certain number of years a university can’t graduate anyone, or a university graduates only the sort of people who need little help from us to pay for their education, we should withdraw tax support from those places.

I’ll have more to say about this in a few moments. Ne quittez pas.

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Hokay. Here’s the deal. It’s a great report – clearly written, tough-minded. The authors are correct that – since accreditation agencies won’t do their bit and shut down drop-out factories like Texas Southern University, a school the Education Trust report features – the federal government needs to shut them down via refusal of tax subsidies. Certainly the free market is doing its bit – enrollment at schools like Texas Southern is tanking – but, hard as this is to believe, it’s true that Texas Southern University and the many schools like it will continue to exist until the heat death of the universe. They will continue to function with only faculty, administrators, and football players. They will mutter vaguely about online programs or something.

And why will they continue to exist?

Look no further than Garnet F. Coleman. There’s a Garnet in every crowd, the local pol who believes in the “strong status of our proud institution, Texas Southern University” and makes sure hapless taxpayers keep throwing their money down a hole. Garnet thinks it’s fine that TSU is incredibly ineptly (and sometimes corruptly) run; fine that its athletic program (why does a school like this have athletics at all?) is deeply in debt, blahblahblah… Because TSU does so much good by failing to graduate students whom it burdens with lifelong debt…

In one of its more shameful editorial decisions, the New York Times two years ago agreed to play along with this madness. Sent a reporter down there who, without comment, quoted TSU’s president saying this:

He said his administration is taking a more hands-on, student-centric approach that should improve academic achievement, which he said had not previously received sufficient attention. Despite what the graduation rates suggest, Mr. Rudley said the campus is in the midst of a renaissance.

The reporter also gushed about new campus buildings, better maintenance of public spaces, etc. Yes, a renaissance was happening right now.

Or in a minute or two. Be patient, be patient.

The Education Trust people now introduce the startling proposal that we no longer wait, that we acknowledge the wasteful scandal of schools like TSU and shut them down.

Texas Southern University … fell in the bottom 5 percent of all institutions on graduation rates in 2011, graduating only 11.8 percent of its full-time freshmen within six years of initial enrollment. Some 80 percent of Texas Southern’s freshmen are from low-income families (i.e., Pell Grant recipients); 90 percent are from underrepresented minority grants and many are weakly prepared for college, with a median SAT score of 800 out of 1600 and an average high school GPA of 2.7. But so too are the students at Tennessee State University and North Carolina Central University, yet they graduate at rates more than three times as high (35.5 percent and 38.4 percent, respectively). In fact, Texas Southern performs at the very bottom of its closest 15 peer institutions and has for many years.

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Then there’s the other end of the problem: Rich kid schools.

Middlebury College in Vermont, for example, in 2011 fell in the bottom 5 percent of all colleges in its enrollment of low-income students: 10 percent. Yet equally selective institutions like Amherst College and Vassar College enrolled more than twice as many low-income students, 23 and 27 percent respectively. We see the same variation in the public sector. The University of Virginia, which ranks in the bottom 5 percent on service to low-income students, enrolled only 13 percent Pell students in 2011, whereas the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill and the State University of New York at Binghamton enrolled 20 and 26 percent Pell students…

And here’s a fascinating mystery:

There are high-achieving, low-income students whose academic credentials place them well within the band of elite colleges’ current admission standards but who for a variety of reasons do not apply to or enroll in these selective institutions. Nearly two-thirds of low-income students with high grades and SAT scores do not attend the most selective institutions for which they are qualified, compared with just over one-quarter of high-income students with similar academic credentials.

Counterintuitive, huh? You’re a genius from Missoula but you don’t go to Harvard, which is desperate for you. Why not?

Well, begin by reading this essay by Walter Kirn, a kid from Minnesota who accepted an offer of admission from Princeton. Although UD has difficulty believing the story Kirn tells about being kidnapped by a castle-dweller, she finds the rest of his account of being middle-class at Princeton credible. Not only were these four years of social hell – of being made to feel poor and outcast – they were intellectual hell as well, as Kirn tells it.

We laughed at the notion of “authorial intention” and concluded, before reading even a hundredth of it, that the Western canon was illegitimate, an expression of powerful group interests that it was our sacred duty to transcend — or, failing that, to systematically subvert. In this rush to adopt the latest attitudes and please the younger and hipper of our instructors … we skipped straight from ignorance to revisionism, deconstructing a body of literary knowledge that we’d never constructed in the first place.

“Brad Martin, a fourth-year anthropology major said his girlfriend was walking to his house when she was approached by the shooters. ‘She is absolutely hysterical, and so she tells me that these guys pulled up and said hey what’s up. She turned and looked and they had a gun and she wasn’t sure if it was a real gun or a fake gun or what type of gun it was … She said the next second he raised it up to her face … and she turned around and started running. That’s when she heard bang bang bang right behind her as she was running, and she could feel the wind hitting her hair from the power of the gunshot from less than five feet away from the car.'”

“Premeditated mass murder” just outside one of America’s most idyllic, envied campuses.

The statement in my headline comes from an article in The Daily Nexus, the UC Santa Barbara student newspaper.

**************

Update: There was only one shooter.

[A] YouTube video titled “Elliot Rodger’s Retribution” appeared to be connected to the killing spree.

In the video, a young man sits behind the wheel of a parked car and rants about how he’s been ignored by women at UCSB and that his sexual advances have been rejected. He promises to go to Isla Vista on Friday night to seek revenge against women — especially sorority members — by slaughtering them.

Rodger’s Facebook page indicates he’s from Calabasas, and shows him sitting in a black BMW coupe.

The gunman’s car was a black BMW coupe.

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My searching around online suggests the shooter may have been the son of a Los Angeles-based film director/photographer.

******************

A somewhat similar act of femicide.

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Confirmation: The shooter is the son of Peter Rodger, “a special unit director on The Hunger Games and director of Oh My God, a documentary the screened during the Cannes Film Festival in 2009.”

*******************

There are of course also similarities to the Virginia Tech massacre: A mentally disturbed young man of college age makes an angry video promising revenge on a world that has disrespected him; he then gets a gun and starts shooting in areas full of college students.

*******************

Incredibly, it gets worse. The shooter stabbed his three roommates to death before he began shooting near UC Santa Barbara.

Withdrawal…

method.

“FANS SAY CARDS OPEN PRACTICE CROWD NOT A REFLECTION ON PETRINO”

Kind of a defensive headline, that. Why, when sleazeman Bobby Petrino (put “petrino” in my search engine) has again (this is a return gig) graced the University of Louisville not only with his presence, but with open practices, is everybody staying away?

[L]ess than [Scathing Online Schoolmarm says: Make that Fewer than] 100 fans were on hand for Petrino’s first open practice inside Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

Do you have any idea what one hundred people look like in a stadium built for 55,000 people?

Ronald McDimesworth

One hell of an all-American headline.

Nobody knows why the state of Illinois doesn’t pull the plug on …

… Chicago State University. Corrupt even by Illinois standards. An almost non-existent graduation rate. Ruled by one greedy hack after another. Frauds in high places. The functional equivalent of North Korea.

And now… (drum roll)…

A Cook County jury has awarded a former Chicago State University employee $2.5 million in damages and back pay after deciding he was fired in retaliation for reporting alleged misconduct by the university president and other top officials, an amount that a judge could further increase at a hearing next month.

… The lawsuit by former Chicago State senior legal counsel James Crowley alleged that he was fired in February 2010 after he refused to withhold documents about university President Wayne Watson’s employment that were requested by a faculty member under the state’s public records law. Crowley also claimed that he was retaliated against after reporting questionable contracts to the Attorney General’s office.

So what’ll it take to shut the place down?

Students are leaving in droves.

Is it possible Illinois will keep the shake-down operation going even without students???

“ILLITERATES IN BIG TIME COLLEGE SPORTS”

Headline of the day.

(Don’t just read the transcript; watch the video.)

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A related article, and an expression of Okie pride:

[Y]ou don’t have to be literate to play and graduate from OSU.

Headline of the Day

MISSOURI PROFESSOR PART OF MAJOR HUMAN FOSSIL FIND

He made Dean’s List at William and Mary…

… in Spring 2013; he helped his father with his gubernatorial campaign in 2009. But if reports are correct, something went very wrong: Gus Deeds apparently stabbed his father, Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds, and then shot himself to death.

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UPDATE:

[Gus] Deeds, who had withdrawn last month as a student at the College of William and Mary, underwent a mental health evaluation on Monday at a local hospital performed under an emergency custody order, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. But the son was released from Bath County Community Hospital because no psychiatric beds were available across a wide area of western Virginia, the paper reported.

After this, UD PROMISES NEVER to say Canada is boring.

Muff diving vers le nord.

The mayor’s exact statement.

Background.

“Rand Paul Faces Yet Another Plagiarism Accusation; Will Probably Have to Start Dueling”

Headline of the day.

Statutory…

offense.

Armed Person Reported at Indiana…

University Bloomington. Odd hour and day for a sighting, a lockdown. Five, six, on a Sunday morning.

**************

Students fighting; one had a knife and used it. Non-lethally.

Gunshots at Princeton.

This story just appeared on the news; it’s much too soon to know what’s going on. I’ll follow it.

********************

It seems to be over, with no gunshots having been fired. Ezra Klein was giving a lecture at the time; everyone was evacuated to the basement of the building.

If you can come up with a better pun headline than this one…

… be my guest. I’ve spent most of the day admiring it.

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